R. Scott Bakker Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Men, Kellhus had once told her, were like coins: they had two sides. Where one side of them saw, the other side of them was seen, and though all men were both at once, men could only truly know the side of themselves that saw and the side of others that was seen-they could only truly know the inner half of themselves and the outer half of others. At first Esmenet thought this foolish. Was not the inner half the whole, what was only imperfectly apprehended by others? But Kellhus bid her to think of everything she'd witnessed in others. How many unwitting mistakes? How many flaws of character? Conceits couched in passing remarks. Fears posed as judgements ... The shortcomings of men-their limits-were written in the eyes of those who watched them. And this was why everyone seemed so desperate to secure the good opinion of others-why everyone played the mummer. They knew without knowing that what they saw of themselves was only half of who they were. And they were desperate to be whole. The measure of wisdom, Kellhus had said, was found in the distance between these two selves. Only afterward had she thought of Kellhus in these terms. With a kind of surpriseless shock, she realized that not once-not once!-had she glimpsed shortcomings in his words or actions. And this, she understood, was why he seemed limitless, like the ground, which extended from the small circle about her feet to the great circle about the sky. He had become her horizon. For Kellhus, there was no distance between seeing and being seen. He alone was whole. And what was more, he somehow stood from without and saw from within. He made whole ...

R. Scott Bakker
Water everywhere, falling in thundering cataracts, singular drops, and draping sheets. Kellhus paused next to one of the shining braziers, peered beneath the bronze visage that loomed orange and scowling over his father, watched him lean back into absolute shadow. 'You came to the world, ' unseen lips said, 'and you saw that Men were like children.' Lines of radiance danced across the intervening waters. 'It is their nature to believe as their fathers believed, ' the darkness continued. 'To desire as they desired ... Men are like wax poured into moulds: their souls are cast by their circumstances. Why are no Fanim children born to Inrithi parents? Why are no Inrithi children born to Fanim parents? Because these truths are made, cast by the particularities of circumstance. Rear an infant among Fanim and he will become Fanim. Rear him among Inrithi and he will become Inrithi ... 'Split him in two, and he would murder himself.' Without warning, the face re-emerged, water-garbled, white save the black sockets beneath his brow. The action seemed random, as though his father merely changed posture to relieve some vagrant ache, but it was not. Everything, Kellhus knew, had been premeditated. For all the changes wrought by thirty years in the Wilderness, his father remained De»nyain ... Which meant that Kellhus stood on conditioned ground. 'But as obvious as this is, ' the blurred face continued, 'it escapes them. Because they cannot see what comes before them, they assume nothing comes before them. Nothing. They are numb to the hammers of circumstance, blind to their conditioning. What is branded into them, they think freely chosen. So they thoughtlessly cleave to their intuitions, and curse those who dare question. They make ignorance their foundation. They confuse their narrow conditioning for absolute truth.' He raised a cloth, pressed it into the pits of his eyes. When he withdrew it, two rose-coloured stains marked the pale fabric. The face slipped back into the impenetrable black. 'And yet part of them fears. For even unbelievers share the depth of their conviction. Everywhere, all about them, they see examples of their own self-deception ... 'Me!' everyone cries. 'I am chosen!' How could they not fear when they so resemble children stamping their feet in the dust? So they encircle themselves with yea-sayers, and look to the horizon for confirmation, for some higher sign that they are as central to the world as they are to themselves.' He waved his hand out, brought his palm to his bare breast. 'And they pay with the coin of their devotion.

R. Scott Bakker
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